martes, 2 de agosto de 2016


Christa Zaat

Knud Erik Larsen (Danish painter) 1865 - 1922
A Break at School, 1891
oil on canvas
76 x 97 cm. (29 15/16 x 38 3/16 in.)
signed and dated 'KLarsen/1891' (lower right)
private collection

Catalogue Note Bonhams
Born in Vinderød near Frederiksværk, Knud Eric Larsen studied painting at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1889. His first exhibited works were presented at the Academy's Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition of 1887. His earliest paintings were depictions of the Jutland countryside, showing the influence of artists such as Hans Smidth (1839-1917) and Vilhelm Kyhn (1819-1903). His style developed a more impressionist tone, a style more akin to artists such as Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909), Theodor Philipsen (1840-1920) and Laurits Andersen Ring (1854-1933).

Larsen travelled throughout Europe, visiting England, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, and his works were also widely shown in many European exhibitions, including the World Fair in Chicago (1893), the International Exhibition in Rome (1911) and The National Gallery, London (1923). Larsen was presented with many medals during his career, including the Thorvaldsen Medal 1892 (the highest accolade from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), the prestigious Eckersberg Medal in 1898 and the Serdin Hansen Prize for genre painting for Sommer, børnene binder kranse (1901).

Later in his career, Larsen became known for a series of insightful portraits of famous Danish politicians, actors and nobility.

Larsen's work is represented in many public collections in Denmark: En gammel kone "Bette Dorte" på heden (1904) and En barnedåb (1893), among others, are in the collection of the National Gallery of Denmark. However, works of the quality of the present lot rarely appear at auction. In private hands since purchase, the painting was acquired from an exhibition in Berlin, shortly after the artist's death. The purchaser, Hans Jaretzki (1890-1956) was a celebrated Bauhaus architect, well known throughout Germany, and also in Britain, having designed the residence of Sir Eric Phipps, British Ambassador to Germany between 1933 and 1937. Following Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor in 1933, Phipps helped Jaretzki flee to Britain, where he and his family settled in Hampstead, North London. The present lot accompanied the family, and has remained with them until now.

Although the present lot is rooted in the wider tradition of Danish interior painting, the influence of Larsen's European travels is clearly reflected in the work. The choice of subject matter and bold application of paint place it in a wider European context; the Impressionistic brushwork and patches of bright sunlight are reminiscent of many European artists working in this period, particularly in Britain. The interiors being painted by the Newlyn school in the 1880s and 1890s make interesting comparisons, a particularly relevant example being the iconic School is out, (RA, 1889) by Elizabeth Forbes (1859-1912). The atmosphere created by the strong single light source in the present lot creates a dramatic effect, the progression from a dark foreground to a light background pulls the viewer through the painting.

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